Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Classroom

The set up of my room, I feel, helps foster learning, fun, and early literacy skills.

We follow Conscious Discipline in our classroom.  As a part of this program I have in my room:

It is my job to keep you safe, it is your job to keep it that way.  My job description.  Everything I do in the classroom comes back to the children being safe.  When we start to have issues in the class, I simply as the student if they are being safe and if they are doing their job keeping our room School Family safe. We emphasize this is not just physically, but emotionally and socially as well.

A safe spot.  When children need a break from what ever is upsetting/stressing/bothering them, they can go in the safe spot to cope. Posted on the wall is a variety of emotions to allow the student to state how exactly they are feeling.  Once they identify what is bothering them, they can figure out how to cope.  There are they 4 techniques we learned in them posted on the wall to help them get back in control of their emotions.  I also have a pillow for a soft place to sit, a blanket for one friend specifically that just needs to cuddle at times, and sensory corn to run hands through and get a calming sensory experience.  As time goes on, more materials (according to the program) will enter the safe spot.

Kindness center.  I use this center to remind our friends to be kind to each other and to look for kindness in others.  We read the book: How to Fill a Bucket.  At the beginning of the year, the students decorated what they imagine their magic bucket to look like and hung it in the center.  The fish bowl in the back is where we put "drops" when we catch someone being kind and we feel that others made an effort to make someone happy. When the bucket is full, we are going to have a class party to celebrate all of our kindness, and in turn fill our buckets more!

Family and Friends Board according to conscious discipline, when a teacher gets his/her first desk, the first thing they do to make it feel "home" is to put family pictures up on it.  Children should have the same opportunity in the classroom to allow them to connect with family while at school. 

We wish you well.   When a student (one of our school 
family members) is absent, it helps the children feel a connection with them if they have a wish you well board.  If a student is absent their check in slip will be left out. We take that slip, wish the child well, and put it on the board.  When the child returns we welcome them back and tell them we are glad to have them with us.

As a part of Creative Curriculum we have play based centers that allow children to learn through doing.  The centers are there to help foster the skills/standards presented by the WMELS (Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards) as well as the social, emotional, physical, and academic needs of the student.  This also includes early literacy skills.

The centers are as follows:
Reading Center Tree House

Reading Center  This center is filled with at least 50 picture books that children can begin looking through, enjoying, and begin the process of reading (left to right, top to bottom, front to back, right side up, etc).  Books are their favorites as well as thematic.  I put the reading center up in the tree house because I wanted the move desired location in the room to be the place they could go to read.  I also wanted it to be a quiet cuddly place and the tree house fostered that environment.
View of some of our reading center books
More reading center books and comfort items.

Whole sensory area- 5 senses posters and table
 Sensory Table 
This center is a good example of incorporating literacy.  I do this in a variety of ways.  1. is to have the 5 senses pictures up not only read what they are doing, but make a connection between what they are doing and the words on the wall.  2. I then had the students take some of their "describing words" and have them tell me what they experienced when they used their 5 senses.  This started in the 5 senses unit at the beginning of the year, but will continue on.  I am excited to see their vocabulary grow. 3. I post "In the Sensory table is....." poster with the material so they can link that word to the material they are touching.
Describing word made by students
as they used their 5 senses in
our room.
5 Senses posters.  We used these
during the first week in our "All about
me" unit.  We will continue to use
through the year.

Art Center In the art center I have a variety of materials in which the students can use to express themselves.  Each week we have a letter of the week.  I have created bubble letters of each letter in which they "decorate" in a variety of ways, the method always having a first letter sound that matches the letter: Ll=lines, Tt=tiles, Cc=Cotton Ball Clouds, etc.  I am also working on teaching responsibility. There is one letter for each student and it will go in an alphabet book we have at the end of the year.  This means everyone has to do it.  I do not call them to do it, but expect everyone to do it at some point during the week.  I do have a check list to mark when it is done and I do remind them to be responsible and visit the art center before the week is done to get their letter checked off.

Puzzles and Games  

I have a variety of educational games and puzzles that are at many levels as well as reach many content areas.  This allows students to work on skills such as problem solving, trial and error, repetition, practice, and team work.  It also helps them with academic concepts: alphabet puzzle=alphabetical order, counting=number order, counting, etc.


In the writing center I have a variety of materials to practice writing with, but a majority of my supplies are laminated paper.  I have created many different forms of letter practice, name practice, word practice, etc into laminated sheets that allow many students to practice, wipe, and practice again.

Dramatic Play  Currently in dramatic play I have home living.  I start with home living because it is the scenario students know best and best able to reenact.  I have a variety of play food in the center as well as babies and doll clothes, high chair, counter, etc.  I also included some old spices containers.  The children LOVE  that they still smell like spices and play cook often.  They also practice fine motor skills taking the tops on and off.  I also have magazines, phone books, and cook books to help incorporate literacy.  There are three types of phones as well: toy rotary, corded home phone, and a cell phone.  These help children see the trend in phones/technology as well as practice numbers and using them.  I couldn't help but laugh the day I saw a little boy vacuuming with a cell phone on his ear!  Where do you think he learned that one?

Block/Construction Center The block center has a variety of types of blocks as well as cars and rescue heroes.  I have a large number of boys in my class so I wanted to start with activities they would be drawn to.  I do see the girls in here often as well.  I have the safety signs poster to help enhance the literacy in the block center.  Labels are also present on everything.  I have observed the children playing in this center and I have to say they have used all the blocks and toys in a variety of ways.  I have seen the whole group play one collective game, some small groups, and individual play.  The play is not the same day to day either.  I thoroughly enjoy watching play in this center.

Discovery Center The discovery center is filled with a variety of science and math skills.  I use this center to help the children to develop persistence  trial and error, and math and science discoveries.  I have magnifying glasses, geo boards, a scale, and counter/sorter tools that they can learn and play with.  I also change some of this out seasonally. For the fall I will put in some pumpkin "guts" and leaves.  Snow and ice will make an appearance, as well as some seeds/planting in the spring.

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